Could Washington Commanders Re-Sign, Start Taylor Heinicke in 2023?
With the Washington Commanders back in the hunt for a legitimate starting quarterback, most expect a lot of changes in how that position group looks next season.
But what if the answer is making a difference, not much?
Believe it or not, there is a scenario where Taylor Heinicke returns in 2023 to play for Washington, and the team should continue its search for the answer at quarterback for years to come.
In it, the only quarterback the Commanders have to move on is one they didn’t look for much in the first place.
To see why we just have to start at the beginning of what went wrong in 2022.
Fans mostly hated the move, while those who didn’t relied on Wentz’s clearly better deep shooting ability to help rationalize the move.
The media described the move as desperate.
The actions of a front office that lost out on quarterback Russell Wilson, and saw their options disappear quickly.
As for the team, they were in love with a different quarterback.
Because of this, it was always going to be an uphill battle for Wentz to win over the locker room.
And it never seemed like he had earned the support of his dressing room beyond the professional requirement to do so.
Meanwhile, Heinicke had their support whether he was on the field or not.
After Wentz failed to get Washington into the end zone against the Tennessee Titans for a game-winning score in Week 5, his chances of becoming the DMV’s darling son were gone.
At one point after Heinicke became the starter, defensive tackle Jonathan Allen told us the locker room picks their quarterback.
For those who watched the team closely, they never picked Wentz.
Now, let’s fast forward to the end of the year.
Commanders fans and players still love Heinicke.
And the media continued to praise his presence and spirit all the way to the finish line.
What is the key.
Because there’s a similar sense of excitement surrounding quarterback Sam Howell.
In his first start, the fifth-round pick out of North Carolina led Washington to a victory over the hated Dallas Cowboys.
Howell also received unsolicited praise for his leadership ability and toughness under pressure during his first NFL career start.
In a scenario most young people only dream of, Howell never flinched when given the chance to live it out.
And, he did it with Heinicke backing him up.
Because Heinicke vouched for Howell, telling the team he deserved a full four quarters of time.
Howell returned the favor, praising not only Heinicke, but Wentz and the entire quarterback room as a whole for their leadership and camaraderie during a difficult season for the team.
Today, with reports surfacing that the Chiefs are telling offensive coordinator prospects that Howell will be their starting quarterback if they land the job, many are backing up the rumor.
Giving Washington a chance to make their next quarterback the right way. And to learn from their mistakes with Wentz.
The starting quarterback job for the Commanders is not something to be given, but to be earned.
Since nearly leading his team to an upset playoff victory over the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, Heinicke has backed up two veteran newcomers.
Neither was selected by the team, and in each case, Heinicke was thrust into the backup role by force, not by his own choice or that of the locker room.
With Howell, if he wins the starting job with Heinicke on the roster, it will be earned through play and leadership.
That’s something the entire Commanders locker room can take willingly and without force.
And that would be the most important endorsement of all.
Find David Harrison on Twitter @DHarrison82 and on the Locked On Commanders podcast.
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